Tagged: “cattle”

Tick-ed Off

Tick-ed Off

Ticks do exist in New Zealand BUT as much as they are awful they do not carry diseases, luckily! They do however cause a few issues on our dogs and cats. The common tick is the Cattle Tick. This tick loves warm blooded animals and is most likely to crop up from Spring through Autumn.

In our cats and dogs the signs of a tick issue are small black dots on your pet that simple grow as they feed on their blood until they are engorged. They can be found anywhere on your pet but will target areas close to the long grass, as well as around ears and nose if they keep their heads low on walks sniffing. These parasites live not only rural areas, but in urban parks and gardens too. They find a host, such as your cat or dog, by waving their forelimbs in the air – at the tip of vegetation – the tick will then latch onto your pet and bring them home to the family!

Ticks can cause irritation around the site but DO NOT PULL THEM OFF! If the head gets stuck this could  lead to an abscess. An infestation of ticks could also cause anaemia in unhealthy or young animals.

The Cattle tick also affects large animals.

How to Prevent and Treat for Ticks

The fantastic news is, although you cannot pull them off, you can treat with appropriate flea and tick treatments! Click here to find out more. If you have any more questions or concerns call us on 5445566 for Richmond or 5288459 for Motueka.

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers

Ryegrass Staggers is a neurological impairment of cattle – particularly of weaned calves and heifers – as well as sheep, deer, horses and alpacas. Horses can be permanently impaired.

It is caused by a naturally occurring ryegrass endophyte (fungus). The fungus produces a toxin that is concentrated in leaf sheaths and seed heads. When ingested the toxin affects the nervous system of grazing animals.

It occurs throughout NZ as far south as Otago, mostly during dry spells (January to late April) when pasture is likely to be in short supply and is being grazed closer to the ground.

Ryegrass Staggers is not the same as grass staggers or hypomagnesemia – a deficiency of magnesium in the blood that can seriously affect cattle.

Symptoms: 

An early sign of ryegrass staggers is that an animal will be unusually anxious when approached. An affected animal will likely show a slight trembling of the head. Skin on the neck, shoulder and flanks will twitch and flicker when the animal is disturbed.

Symptoms progress to head nodding, jerky movements, swaying while standing and staggering movements. A deterioration is evidenced by stiff-legged and jerky movement, short prancing steps and eventual collapse, sometimes with rigid spasms lasting several minutes.

Calves usually remain upright on their briskets with their legs splayed while sheep tend to roll on their sides with head extended and limbs rigid.

  • Affected stock cannot be disturbed without risk of their collapse. This makes it difficult to move them to the next feed break or to a yard.
  • Affected animals lose physical condition and do not drink sufficient water.
  • An immediate economic consequence for dairy farmers is loss of milk production. Affected dairy cows are also at risk of injury when falling in the race and falling on concrete in the dairy shed, yard or milking area.
  • Although not fatal in itself, ryegrass staggers can lead to stock losses through ‘misadventure’ – animals staggering into waterways and drowning, falling into an electric fence or other obstacle and being injured, falling down a bank, or into a ditch or swamp and becoming stuck.

Research:

A DSIR test in NZ showed a correlation between the relief of ryegrass staggers and dosing with Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) and potassium chloride (McColl & Orchard, 1981).

A preventive course of action was indicated in the results of a North Canterbury farm trial with seaweed-based trough treatments for 236 bull calves over a 10-week period (McKenzie, 1985).

Fungicidal spray is an option to suppress potential endophyte build-up in ryegrass pasture.

Long term options for severely affected farms are pasture replacement with an endophyte-resistant grass or livestock replacement with animals bred for ryegrass staggers resistance

Pasture management options aim to:

  1. provide fresh breaks into leafy ryegrass where toxicity is naturally lower.
  2. provide pasture that has a low endophyte count or is ryegrass-free.
  3. provide pasture that includes legumes such as white clover, which dilute toxin uptake.
  4. provide ‘safe pasture’ such as lucerne, red clover, chicory, brown top, kikuyu and annual ryegrass (as opposed to perennial ryegrass).
  5. make available summer forage crops and supplements such as grain, hay and silage.

Stock management options aim to:

  1. leave affected animals mostly undisturbed.
  2. move stock slowly and patiently without the stress of bikes, dogs and overcrowding.
  3. postpone any non-essential yarding and stock movements.
  4. avoid leaving stock in paddocks with natural hazards such as ponds, ditches and bluffs.
  5. make allowance for recovering animals now mobile but still lacking normal coordination.
  6. implement a weekly drench programme prior to and during the period of risk.

Dairy management options aim to:

  1. minimise the distance walked to the dairy yard.
  2. milk affected cows only once a day and drench once or twice weekly with a preferred drench formulation that will help reduce the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers.
  3. dry-off badly affected cows to lessen their physical stress.

Vetpack Summer “Tonic” is a mineral-rich, seaweed-based formulation administered to animals as a ready-to-use feed supplement or drench, which is especially formulated for summer feed conditions.� Farmers claim that their on-farm experience with Vetpack Summer Tonic, when used correctly, is that it can greatly assist in reducing the incidence and severity of ryegrass staggers. It is manufactured by Independent Veterinary Supplies Ltd and distributed through Veterinary Clinics to be used as required or as directed by a Veterinary Surgeon

NOTE:

We suggest you take the appropriate action to ensure your animals’ welfare is safeguarded during the period of risk. We also recommend that you consult your local Veterinarian for up-to-date information on ryegrass staggers in your area.

For further information, please contact us

Copper Deficiency

Copper Deficiency

Copper deficiency is most recognised in deer and cattle causing production losses through a sub-clinical deficiencies. On occasions, clinical signs will occur including poor locomotion, coat changes, poor reproductive performance, poor milk production, diarrhoea, weight loss and skeletal defects and reduced growth rates in growing animals.

Copper is commonly deficient in New Zealand soils and can be made more deficient by the application of certain other minerals such as Sulphur and Molybdenum. Animal species differ in their susceptibility, with deer being the most susceptible.

To check if your stock are copper deficient samples of blood or liver biopsy’s from 4 animals will give you a good indication of your herds copper levels.

Supplementation can be made to animals via several methods. The most reliable and economical in in Copper Oxide Capsules that last 8 to 12 months. Injectable products last 6 to 12 weeks and most oral applications are very short acting.  Copper can be applied through normal fertilisers which is convenient but expensive.

For advice or more information, please contact us.

Clostridial Diseases

Clostridial Diseases

Clostridial diseases include Pulpy Kidney, Tetanus, Malignant Oedema, Black disease and Black Leg.
It is a little concerning that there are some farms that do not vaccinate against these diseases.  A comment I get when talking about clostridial vaccines is – “Why should I vaccinate when I don’t have the disease?”  A relevant question if you truly did not have the disease, but what did suddenly kill that well grown calf last autumn, or why did that weaner die and “blow up” so quick last spring.
The clostridial bacteria are plentiful.  They are in the environment, they are the bugs responsible for decomposing dead organic matter either animal or plant.  They can be found in the gut of animals.  When they get out of control – there is trouble.
Pulpy Kidney causes sudden death of calves after a change of feed – usually the biggest calf in the mob. 
Tetanus bacteria enter the body from a cut in the skin and lead to “lock jaw” and terminal seizures. 
Malignant Oedema (gas gangrene) gets in from skin wounds, which become necrotic, then gassy – the animal then succumbs to blood poisoning.
Black disease occurs secondarily to liver fluke infection.  The immature liver fluke damage the liver, allowing clostridial bacteria to multiple, causing tissue damage followed by blood poisoning and death.
Black leg causes necrosis and blackening of muscles (usually of the leg) followed by gas production, blood poisoning and death.

Treatment is usually unsuccessful
.  The progress of the disease is so rapid that animals are usually just found “dead”.
Traditionally these above diseases have been prevented by using “5 in 1” vaccines – e.g. Ultravac 5 in 1.  This is a good place to start, but in New Zealand we do have 6th bacteria which is not included in the 5 in 1.  Infection with this one causes “sudden death syndrome”
Covexin 10 protects against 10 types of clostridial infection that can be found overseas.  It is considered the gold standard for clostridial vaccination and is the vaccine of choice for cattle.
The normal vaccination protocol is a sensitizer dose followed a month later by a booster dose starting as early as 2 weeks old for Covexin 10, and starting at any age for Ultravac.  A booster dose is due every 12 months thereafter.